road 259815 1280Self-driving cars will hit the road at the end of this year. What do self-driving cars have to do with your business? Perhaps more than you previously thought.

Did you know that this year BMW will release 40 self-driving cars? Volvo also expects to release 100 self-driving cars this year and Tesla will enable full self-driving on all its vehicles in the same timeframe.

Safety has been at the top of most people’s list of concerns. However computers don’t get tired, distracted or drunk and they never text while driving. If developers can work out how to navigate the unpredictable nature of driving in traffic (and that does seem a big ask), they will have solved the safety issue.

There is, in fact, strong evidence that Google’s fleet of self-driving cars are actually safer drivers than humans. Most of the minor accidents in its fleet (a small number) were caused by other vehicles. Driverless cars will become safer as time goes on because they have the ability to learn and upgrade their skill over time. All in all, safety doesn’t seem to be the major concern associated with self-driving cars and New Zealand's Minister for Transport thinks that he'll see them in New Zealand within one to two years.

Easier driving is predicted to precipitate urban sprawl. There is a possibility that members of your team will need or want to work remotely more than they do today. We could find team members doing more of their work in the car - using the car as an office-away-from-the-office. Once employees are working remotely in their car, wouldn’t it make more sense for them to work from home part-time as well? Whether team members work from home or from the car-office, they will probably be less present and visible.

Economically, driverless cars are expected to have a $1.4 trillion dollar impact globally. Transport, postal and warehousing organisations could be most affected, particularly as driverless cars are followed by driverless trucks. For these industries, that means massive displacement, retraining and adjustment.

For those of us in knowledge work, we might hope in vain that our neck of the woods won't be affected. Self-driving cars are just one example of a disruptive technology that will soon make waves. In fact, nanotechnology, biotechnology, medicine, neuroscience and energy are all experiencing enormous breakthroughs as robotics, artificial intelligence and computing power increase.

Businesses and organisations that are resilient enough to thrive in this new era will want to attract the best staff. The best way to attract those talented people is to offer them what they really want. What they really want is not always more cash.

The demand for genuine flexibility is increasing. In Australia, 55% of Australians are prepared to drop their salary by up to 10% to be able to work from home. 68% of New Zealanders not currently working from home or a remote location would like to be able to if their job could be done from there. Flexibility appears to be a deal breaker that influences choice of employer for around 40% of the working population, based on a number of studies that have arrived at that number.

Usually the best talent are the ones with the greatest choice in the employment market. A fair portion of that high-performing talent pool wants genuine flexibility - a high degree of control over when and where they will do their work. I recently worked with an organisation that attracted 30 high quality candidates to one position offered as a full-time remote role. Other business leaders have told me they attract the best in their industry because of their remote work style.

Businesses and organisations become attractive to the best talent in their industry when they include the option to work from home in their work arrangements.


About Nina Sochon
Nina Sochon is the CEO of Transformed Teams - a training, coaching and consulting firm creating incredibly successful professional teams. Receive your free Team Health Check for Conventional and Virtual Teams.